My name's Lucie and my dog Kaya was just diagnosed with EPI ten days ago. Finding this community has been a massive eye-opener and a huge relief to see dogs who are thriving in spite of the condition. We're at the very beginning of our EPI journey so things still feel chaotic and scary. I was hoping to get some feedback on our situation.
Kaya is a 3 1/2 year old GSD mix rescue from up North (we live in Ontario), sweet and easygoing as can be, and my best girl, I adore her so much. Shamefully, it took me weeks to figure out something was wrong. Starting in January, she was always hungry so I increased her portions and though she still didn't put on weight, I didn't worry as our lifestyle had gotten more active, plus with Winter, I thought she was just burning more calories. By mid-March, she was clearly losing weight so I booked an appointment with the vet. That same week, her poo became pale, yellow-ish and the day before the vet appointment, she started having terrible diarrhea. She couldn't make it through the night without needing to go.
We were lucky, the vet's first thought was EPI. She got tested and a week later, it was confirmed. She should be weighing about 59lbs (27kg) and she's now under 44lbs (19.8kg). Since the diagnosis, I followed the vet's advice but having now found this website, I've realised some of it was wrong or not ideal, and as my girl is still losing weight (as of 2 days ago, just under a pound/400g since the diagnosis) I don't know what to trust anymore.
Treatment so far:
- Metronidazole for 5 days
- Weekly B12 shots (just got her second one 2 days ago)
- Off-the-shelf beef pancreas powder (no strength info on it, stop-gap while we waited for vet to order proper enzyme) then Viokase starting 2 days ago
* With every meal, mixed with warm water, add the food, let rest for 20 minutes
- 150% of normal food portions in 3 meals per day (sometimes an extra bedtime meal if she behaves as if particularly hungry)
- FortiFlora with food once a day since ending the Metronidazole
The vet thinks the continued weight loss is due to the food, Kaya is on raw, and that I should switch her to an hypoallergenic kibble. I had switched to raw after trying a long list of kibbles and wet foods that never seemed to agree with her (ear infections, diarrhea, even vomitting in one case) and she would always stop eating them eventually (usually after things seemed to go ok and I bought a bigger bag).
I saw here that some people seem to have good results with raw. I checked the kind I give her and the fat content is under 12% (9% to 11% depending on the protein which I cycle daily) and the fibre is around 3% for all of them. No peas, no grains. I've been wondering whether the issue isn't with the low-grade enzyme I first gave her and I was thinking of giving it another week now that she's on proper stuff but I don't want to delay her recovery unnecessarily.
I'm very conflicted. I want my girl to get better and while I would have preferred to keep her on a diet on which she's previously done great, I understand that the diagnosis changed things. That said, between the Metronidazole prescription and the Viokase dosage discussion, I don't know that I trust my vet with this.
With the wealth of experience in these forums, I was hoping I could get some insights and feedback that would make it easier for me to make the right decision and get my girl back to good health.
Thank you so much